In the 1964 movie My Fair Lady, excruciatingly British phonetics professor Henry Higgins worries about the fate of the English language. “In America,” he observes, “they haven’t used it for years.”

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There remains debate about whether this adverb is appropriate or not. According to an NPR article, thirty years ago a few famous grammarians decided to “vilify” the word. Prior to this, so they say, the word was used without complaint. After three decades of debate, most of us are now confused.

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Q: I’ve been trying to produce content that bolsters my online profile and optimizes my search engine rankings. I’ve studied nearly all of the online tips and incorporated the strategies of various thought-leaders into my own web content, but I haven’t seen any improvement. What gives?

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“Huh?” you may ask yourself. “I kinda remember hearing those words in high school English class, but I have no idea what they mean,” you may answer.

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Q: What would you say are the most overused words from the past year? I nominate “pivot.”

Yes, the word “pivot” – a word that was previously only used in osteopathic and Jazz dance applications – has been tossed around quite brutally, particularly on cable news channels. The Ninja agrees that as an indication of a swift, smooth, and (ideally) imperceptible change in narrative, it is woefully inadequate.

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Here at Words by a Pro, we work with narratives. It’s our job to write stories surrounding brands. Orders often run along the lines of “informative but entertaining” or “professional but accessible.”

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We’ve all had those insightful moments where a brilliant thought or idea rushes through our mind. It’s this time that we run to grab our pencil and paper and quickly jot down our fleeting thought. Did you ever feel like your brilliant idea became a complete flop once you put it into words? Sometimes it’s not our actual ideas that need tweaking, but rather the language we use to describe them.

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It’s a little tricky.

Many amateur writers use the word however incorrectly. The most common mistake—and we see it way too often—is using it as if it were a coordinating conjunction.

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Ahh, the music of language.

We’ve all heard the phrase before, but many of us haven’t given much thought to what it actually means. Is it how words sound? The “flow” of a sentence? Or something more?

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Q: If there’s a place in the linguistic world for the words “sexting”, “twerk”, and “totes”, why can’t we finally accept “ain’t”? It’s been in common usage for centuries. When will “ain’t” finally be recognized as a legitimate word?

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